Uterine cancer risk lowered for female coffee drinkers

November 23, 2011

Women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day may have a reduced risk of developing cancer in the lining of their uterus, according to a study. Researchers who looked at more than 67,000  nurses found that women who drank that much coffee were one-quarter less likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who averaged less than a cup a day, said the study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

The absolute risk that any one woman, coffee drinker or not, would develop the cancer was fairly small, with only 672 women — or one percent of the study group — being diagnosed with it over 26 years. While researchers could also not say for certain that coffee was the reason for the lower risk among those who drank a lot of coffee, the study adds to several others with similar results.

Higher concentrations of insulin and higher lifetime exposure to estrogen have both been linked to a higher risk of endometrial cancer. Researchers looked at a number of other factors, such as differences in women’s weight, since obesity is also linked to a higher risk of endometrial cancer, but that did not account for the lower cancer risk seen among coffee drinkers. Read more…


Brain Cancer Vaccine Shows Positive Results

November 22, 2011

Immunotherapeutic vaccine called Rindopepimut showed positive results in prolonging survival in patients with newly diagnosed EGFRvIII-positive glioblastoma (GB), one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. 65 patients in 31 locations were choosen for the study known as ACT III.

The overall historic survival rate for patients with GB selected to match those on the trial was 15.2 months. Rindopepimut targets the tumor-specific molecule, epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII). EGFRvIII is a mutated form of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) that is only expressed in cancer cells and not in normal tissue, and is a transforming oncogene that can directly contribute to cancer cell growth.

Expression of EGFRvIII is linked to poor long term survival, regardless of other factors, such as extent of resection and age. EGFRvIII has been expressed in 31% of GB tumors when assessed using the Celldex PCR assay.

The high level of immunity seen in vaccinated patients is again associated with loss of EGFRvIII at recurrence. Rindopepimut was generally well-tolerated with treatment duration up to more than 7 years; toxicities consisted chiefly of injection site reactions, while fatigue, rash, nausea and pruritus also occurred in >10% of patients. Activity and safety data are very consistent with previous smaller studies of Rindopepimut in GB. Read more…

F.D.A. Revokes Approval of Avastin for Use as Breast Cancer Drug

November 19, 2011

The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Friday revoked the approval of the drug Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer, ruling on an emotional issue that pitted the hopes of some desperate patients against the statistics of clinical trials. The commissioner, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, said that clinical trials had shown that the drug was not helping breast cancer patients to live longer or to meaningfully control their tumors, but did expose them to potentially serious side effects like severe high blood pressure and hemorrhaging.

“Sometimes, despite the hopes of investigators, patients, industry and even the F.D.A. itself, the results of rigorous testing can be disappointing,” Dr. Hamburg told reporters Friday. “This is the case with Avastin when used for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.” Avastin will remain on the market as a treatment for other types of cancers, so doctors can use it off-label for breast cancer. But insurers might no longer pay for the drug, which would put it out of reach of many women because it costs about $88,000 a year. Federal officials said on Friday that Medicare would still provide coverage for the drug’s use in breast cancer, though the government plans to “monitor the issue and evaluate coverage options.” Read more…

Late-stage ovarian cancer can be treated

November 18, 2011

Researchers have discovered a peptide that shrinks advanced tumours and improves survival rates for ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer. Its symptoms, which include nausea, bloating and abdominal pain, are vague and can be attributed to a number of ailments.

Often the disease remains undetected until it’s well advanced, when the odds of survival are poor.  It’s called the silent killer because it really does sneak up on you. In addition to regressing tumours, ABT-898 essentially prunes dysfunctional blood vessels in the tumour while leaving healthy vessels intact. Read more…

Lung cancer mostly diagnosed late

November 17, 2011

Cases of chronic lung disease and lung cancer are rapidly rising in India, remaining mostly undiagnosed until it is too late, experts say. As Thursday marked World Lung Cancer Day, doctors say changing lifestyles, smoking and air pollution have alarmingly raised the number of lung problems.

Along with cancer, rising equally rapidly are cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that causes acute breathing problems, also related to smoking in most cases. The biggest issue however remains that lung problems are often ignored and go undiagnosed due to lack of information. Read more…

Breast cancer group tests canned foods for BPA

November 16, 2011

Elevating its call to remove a potentially troubling plastic ingredient from canned food linings, a breast cancer advocacy group released a report Tuesday that condemned the use of Bisphenol A in food packaging. The Breast Cancer Fund, which researches links between environmental causes and the disease, chose canned foods used in Thanksgiving dinners as its target. After having 28 cans of food independently tested, the group found four samples bought in Minneapolis contained the highest levels of BPA in their respective categories. The use of BPA in consumer goods has stirred up trouble in recent years.

Advocates fear that BPA, first synthesized in the 1891 as a synthetic form of the hormone estrogen, could be linked to cancer, infertility, early puberty in females, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Minnesota was the first of roughly 10 states to prohibit the manufacture of baby bottles and sippy cups with BPA, but it can still be used in formula can linings and other food products. Some of the cans tested — including those from Minnesota — could contain levels of BPA that have been found harmful in laboratory tests, according to the report. Read more…

Birth control pill ups prostate cancer risk

November 15, 2011

A news study has found that use of the contraceptive pill appears to increase risk of prostate cancer around the globe. According to the researchers, prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the developed world and the use of the contraceptive pill has soared over the past 40 years.

They then analysed the data for individual nations and continents worldwide to see if there was any link between use of the contraceptive pill and illness and death caused by prostate cancer. Their calculations showed that use of intrauterine devices, condoms, or other vaginal barriers was not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. But use of the contraceptive pill in the population as a whole was significantly associated with both the number of new cases of, and deaths from, prostate cancer in individual countries around the world, the analysis showed.

The researchers emphasise that their research is speculative and designed to prompt further consideration of the issues. As such, their analysis does not confirm cause and effect, and therefore definitive conclusions cannot be drawn, as yet. But they refer to several recent studies, which have suggested that oestrogen exposure may boost the risk of prostate cancer. Read more…

Cancer turning out to be a major killer, says expert

November 14, 2011

Cancer, after cardiac-related deaths, is turning out to be a giant killer in India with millions of people falling prey to the disease — mostly caused by tobacco and alcohol. An estimated 40 lakh cancer patients are in India and every year 5 lakh cancer deaths were being reported in the country. Oral cancer among rural women is ruling the roost as they are mostly habituated to chewing of tobacco and reverse smoking called as ‘Adda Poga’. Majority of these women were prone to cancer and they come to the physician at an advanced stage of the killer-disease. Many of them conceal the problem even from their near and dear ones until they reach the advanced stage. Several rural women also suffer from uterus cancer due to promiscuous living and unhygienic vaginal conditions, he observed.

Many women fail to detect early symptoms of cervical cancer like white discharge which is taken lightly. Other symptoms include delayed healing of sores, unusual bleeding, indigestion and thickening of lump in the breast etc.  For early detection of cancer, he suggested breast examination by self, going for pap smear apart from periodic health check-up including biopsy, x-ray, ultra sound scan and CT scan. Read more…

High-fiber diet linked to lower colon cancer risk

November 12, 2011

Eating a high-fiber diet is linked with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, according to new research that analyzed 25 different studies. Total fiber intake, as well as fiber from whole grains and from cereals, was most strongly linked with a reduction in colorectal cancer risk, the researchers say.

Overall, the link found between fiber intake and risk reduction was small. Aune’s team found a 10% risk reduction in colorectal cancer for each 10 grams of fiber eaten a day. However, the more fiber people ate, the more risk reduction was found.

The amount of fiber eaten by those who had the highest and lowest levels varied from study to study. When the researchers compared groups with the lowest fiber intake with those who ate more, they found each 10-gram a day increase in total fiber and cereal fiber was linked with a 10% reduction in colorectal cancer risk. The protective effect was seen no matter what the starting point was for fiber, he says. “If you have a low intake, like 5 grams a day, and increase it to 15, it will have an effect, too.” In terms of risk reduction for colorectal cancer, however, he says, the more fiber, the better. Read more…

Fibre and whole grains ‘reduce bowel cancer risk’

November 11, 2011

Researchers found that for every 10g a day increase in fibre intake, there was a 10% drop in the risk of bowel cancer. But their analysis of 25 previous studies found that fruit and vegetables fibre did not reduce risk. A cancer charity called for more detailed research on the quantity and type of fibre to eat. Eating fibre and whole grains is known to help protect against cardiovascular disease, but experts say that any link with colorectal cancer is less clear because studies have not had consistent results. Reviewing the results of all previous observational studies in this area, researchers, Leeds and the  analysed data provided by almost two million people.

Their conclusion, published in the British Medical Journal, is that increasing fibre intake, particularly cereal fibre and whole grains, helps prevent colorectal cancer. Whole grains include foods such as whole grain breads, brown rice, cereals, oatmeal and porridge.

A previous study which showed a reduction in risk with high intake of fruit and vegetables suggests that compounds other than fibre in fruit and vegetables could account for this result, said the authors. They also said that the health benefits of of increasing fibre and whole grains intake was not restricted to colorectal cancer. Read more…